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A high court ruling on whistle blowers

So the U.S. Supreme Court this week issued a decision that essentially pulls back options for public sector whistle blowers.

In a victory for the Bush administration, justices said the 20 million public employees do not have free-speech protections for what they say as part of their jobs.

Critics predicted the impact would be sweeping, from silencing police officers who fear retribution for reporting department corruption, to subduing federal employees who want to reveal problems with government hurricane preparedness or terrorist-related security.

Here is the WP story on the case and Here is WP federal page columnist Steve Barr wrote about the decision this week.

I have to say that I have not read the decision yet [.pdf]. Here are excerpts from AP via Yahoo News.

I will read the decision on my way to the Management of Change conference this weekend, but my gut reaction is that this is a very bad decision for good government. I'm somewhat surprised that the WP has done opined on this issue, but the LAT has this editorial on the matter this morning.

Not all speech is free [LAT, 6.2.2006]
If you're a government employee, the 1st Amendment shouldn't protect your official conduct.

SOME CIVIL LIBERTARIANS ARE denouncing a U.S. Supreme Court ruling Tuesday against a former Los Angeles prosecutor who says he was disciplined for speaking out against police misconduct. They may want to consider how they would feel if the same decision went against, say, a Bush administration official who was fired for saying that proponents of the president's immigration policy suppressed evidence that illegal immigrants increase crime and disease...

Any American has the right to spout off against the legalization of illegal immigrants. A member of an administration that takes a pro-legalization stance does not have the same right to second-guess that administration's views in the name of "whistle-blowing." Whatever one thinks of Ceballos' actions, the court was right not to blur the distinction between citizen speech and employee speech.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Jun 02, 2006 at 12:15 PM


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